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300 Homes Go Up in Texas Fire

Mom, child killed in separate blaze in tinderbox state
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2011 1:28 AM CDT

(Newser) – A mother and child have been killed in a blaze near Dallas, while another "catastrophic" Texas wildfire has destroyed 300 homes and sent thousands of residents near Austin fleeing for their lives. The 16-mile-long Austin fire has burned through 14,000 acres and is now threatening an additional 700 houses, reports the American-Statesman. Firefighters were battling a dozen brush and grass blazes throughout eastern and central Texas yesterday as dry conditions and winds whipped up by Tropical Storm Lee turn the state into a tinderbox. Two of the fires were started when flames jumped from barbeque pits, and one ignited as a teen burned love letters outdoors, said officials.

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"We're a little on edge," a Texas Forest Service spokesman told Reuters. "We have several fires that we thought we had put out, but these winds came up and started them up again." A total of 3.5 million acres have been burned in the state so far this season, reports MSNBC. August was the hottest single month ever recorded in Texas. (Read more Texas wildfires stories.)

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